After meeting your guide in Karaköy on Istanbul’s European side, head off on your 5.5-hour food and culture walking tour. As you walk and talk, build a picture of this vibrant area, and learn how it’s famous for its traditional eateries, cafes and food shops.
Absorb the aromas as you pass baklava shops and teahouses, and arrive at a restaurant for a hearty kahvalti (Turkish breakfast). Try staples such as menemen (eggs scrambled with tomato and peppers); kaymak (clotted cream made from buffalo milk) and spicy sausage known as sucuk. Chat to your guide as you eat, and learn all about the origins of the different dishes and how they’re prepared and cooked.
Duly refreshed, walk to the nearby portside and ride a ferry across the Bosphorus to Kadıköy, a buzzing waterfront neighborhood on Istanbul’s Asian side. This cosmopolitan, up-and-coming area is characterized by cobbled lanes, lively markets and animated taverns.
Meander past the cafes, stalls and tea salons, and listen as your guide shares intriguing observations about the local food scene. Then, wander around the stalls at the bustling fish market, and perhaps taste some of the wares on offer, such as freshly grilled fish and juicy olives.
Enjoy several further food stops at the surrounding eateries and shops. Samples vary on each tour, but expect to try favorites such as sticky baklava and other sweet treats.
Toward lunchtime, visit one of Kadıköy’s most popular restaurants, Çiya Sofrası, where the chefs cook up regional Turkish staples. Try specialities such as güveç (meat and vegetable stew), ezogelin (red lentil soup) and katmer (flaky pastry stuffed with pistachios), and then round things off with a cup of rich, dark Turkish coffee at a coffee house.
After around five hours, take the ferry back Karaköy, where your tour concludes.